You are more than labels. You are more than pain. You are more than your mistakes. You are more than the pressure. You are not coloured in black and white. You are not a single note on a manuscript or a single page in a book. You are more than a reflection or a shadow. You are more than a number on a scale. Don’t listen to others who tell you so. Don’t let others pack you in a box they’ve created for you. Don’t be an ‘or’ because you’re an ‘and’. You are more than one thing you do or say or believe. You can be anything you want to be. You can change your mind. You can be more than you think you can be.
As the year draws to a close, we often take a look at the map of the journey we’ve plotted this year. There might be a few patches of uphill struggle. There might be a few circles, and even a few dead ends. Or maybe a lot. Nonetheless, we should be proud of ourselves and how far we’ve come. Because no matter where we are, our map shows that we tried, we conquered, we learnt something. We remained strong and determined. And sometimes we fell apart and it was ok. We should be proud of what we’ve achieved, no matter how small or how trivial, they seem, even if it’s just bring proud that we didn’t give up on ourselves. Because our achievements have made us into who we are today and who we can be tomorrow. Celebrate those moments and use them as your fuel to make yourself proud next year.
It’s true that we won’t ever be able to move onto the next chapter if we keep re-reading the last one. But we cannot cut the past out of our life, and we shouldn’t have to. Coming to terms with our past can take time. But here are a few times when looking back isn’t all that bad:
- Reflecting on lessons learnt – All the tough times we’ve endured and all the mistakes we’ve made teach us something, and through that, we’ve become more knowledgeable and strong. The lessons of the past are invaluable to how we lead the present and the future. Hold them close.
- Reflecting on turning points – Our life could be plotted as a string of milestones and turning points. Sometimes we need to look back to see how far we’ve come as impetus to keep going. Sometimes we need to look back to see how something we cried over was actually a blessing. Sometimes we need to look back at how much we’ve achieved. Be proud.
- Reflecting on good memories – Although we’re programmed to remember those moments of pain, embarrassment and fear, there are some many more beautiful and joyous moments that we should cherish. Don’t forget them or the people who you created those memories with. Smile because it happened.
The motivation to pursue our personal journeys of reaching success can be like riding a bike in a hilly terrain. We know how to ride the bike, even if we might be out of practice, and the times when we soar down the hills make us feel so exhilarated and free. When it comes to riding uphill, however, it requires so much more work that we might be discouraged from even bothering. Motivation has its peaks and downfalls. What we need to do is find a way for that momentum we built downhill to help us back uphill.
Being able to look back on how far we’ve come is a great way to keep us going. I advise to keep a journal or even a small notepad where you can jot down the progress you make each day in a bullet point format. You could even throw in a few statements on how you feel each day about what you’ve accomplished and your levels of motivation. This way, when we feel like we need some extra motivation, we can look back not only on what we have achieved, which will motivate us to achieve more and carry on with our progress, but we can also look back on how we felt about it. If we note down how we felt proud of ourselves, how we pushed ourselves, how we carried on despite adversity, how we felt controlled and energised and productive, then we will want to have those feelings again. We don’t need fancier equipment to reach the top of that hill. All we need to know is that we’ve cycled up a hill just as big; we didn’t let it stop us then, so we’re not going to let it stop us now.
The 5 Minute Journal is both a physical and electronic personal record designed to make positive psychology accessible to everyone. Many of us do not write in a journal every day, to really reflect on our attitudes and actions, because we find it too much effort and too time consuming; it’s easy enough to convince ourselves to pass on the opportunity because we’ve been living those moments and we don’t feel like we need to spend any extra time on them. But the 5 Minute Journal combines the past and the future together to really get us thinking about what we are grateful for and how we can make our day great – and the best part is that it only takes five minutes, once in the morning and once in the evening. Created with scientific evidence, the journal encourages people to focus on the good in their lives and maintain a clear, positive mindset. By encouraging us to not only reflect on what was good in our day and what could have been better (which therefore allows us to decipher our habits to work on), the journal also helps us to wake up and remind ourselves of what we are thankful for and also remind ourselves about who we are. And for those moments when we find ourselves slipping, we can read daily inspiration, from quotes to other sources, or look back on past journal entries to see how far we have come and what makes us happy. By physically writing these things down, whether in the physical journal or on the app, we can help programme our minds to be positive, to analyse, to act on our analysis and grow as a person, to cultivate gratitude, and, through these steps, to be happy. Because isn’t happiness the most important thing in life?
Find out more about the 5 Minute Journal here: http://www.fiveminutejournal.com/
Available both as a physical book and in the app store.